Referencing agency missed CCJ?

Referencing agency missed CCJ?

0:02 AM, 15th February 2024, About 4 months ago 22

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Hi, we ran a letting agency for a few years and are landlords ourselves. We used a referencing agency for referencing tenants and allowed a lady in our property based on her having no CCJs, a good credit history and an affordable income.

In fact, we went further and took out a rent guarantee policy with the referencing agency, later on when we went to renew the policy we were told that it was not possible to have a renewal (we had closed our agency down and the referencing agency said they do not deal directly with landlords?).

We then tried to take out a rent guarantee policy with another agency, but they flagged up the CCJ, what recourse do I have with the previous referencing agency? I am now lumbered with a tenant who I would not have let in that could cost me thousands.

Thanks,

Alex


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Comments

Judith Wordsworth

10:23 AM, 15th February 2024, About 4 months ago

Depends on how long ago this was, but a breach of contract with the reference agency and yourselves I would have thought.

Property Flipper

10:28 AM, 15th February 2024, About 4 months ago

Did tenant have the CCJ at the time of the referencing?

Tricky to make any claim against the referencing agency as you haven't actually incurred any loss yet, just a reduction in the ability to make a claim on an insurance. I suspect the best you can hope for is a refund of the costs. What do the T&Cs say about best endeavours but no liability ( I expect there is something along those lines)

Some options:
Issue section 21 - if you really aren't happy
Ask for a Guarantor
Try other rent guarantee companies that may offer cover for a CCJ

Write to the referencing agency putting them on notice that you will be claiming for any future loss (depending on what your review of the T&Cs shows)

Dylan Morris

10:42 AM, 15th February 2024, About 4 months ago

Assuming the CCJ was present at the time of referencing it may have shown up and it may have not. Depends which credit agency was used. Sometimes CCJ’s show up with one agency and not another. You definitely need to find out when the CCJ was registered if it’s after the referencing date then you have obviously no cause to complain. If before the referencing was carried out you need to see a copy of the report that was used to see if it was on there. (Easiest thing to do is ask your new potential insurer to give you details including the date of the CCJ. This is public information so they can’t hide behind data protection rules).

Chris @ Possession Friend

12:07 PM, 15th February 2024, About 4 months ago

I would be wary of asking for a return of the relatively low ( in comparison with potential loss ) that was paid for the reference check, as it could likely compromise a future claim you may have.
As Flipper says, you haven't incurred a 'loss' yet, and hopefully you don't.
I would be writing (honest factual ) reviews and 'naming and shaming' though.

LordOf TheManor

13:03 PM, 15th February 2024, About 4 months ago

Hmmm....
Alex, please establish what was known at the point of referencing. The advice of both Dylan Morris & Chris@PF is great advice so please follow!

If the CCJ was known at the time of the tenant being referenced, then the course of follow up with the responsibility chain falls under: Hale v Blue Sky Properties.

LordOf TheManor

13:45 PM, 15th February 2024, About 4 months ago

Alex .....
Even though you're no longer running a letting agency, please don't lose sight of the business acumen that with that.
It seems the norm is that tenants no longer submit a signed truthful 'tenancy application form' to an agent prior to 'offering' on a proposed tenancy. What???
I find my own tenants via Open rent with pre-screening questions prior to viewings. Of the offers, all have to submit to me a completed NRLA tenancy application form. Based on the signed receipt of that, only then do I accept prospective tenants at their 'face value' & go on to agree to pay to reference them.
If tenants have signed NRLA form to say no CCJs but then are found to have them... that comes out in the wash when the NRLA references are paid for. Results in no tenancy & I keep the holding fee they paid.
NB: My last 2 tenant applicants have both said that when they were contacted direct from NRLA after my pre-approval process, the questions asked of them were considerably less than those on the form I had sent them.
NB: NRLA. Could you please comment on my most recent tenants' feedback?

Chris @ Possession Friend

13:50 PM, 15th February 2024, About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by LordOf TheManor at 15/02/2024 - 13:03
.. indeed, also Shevlin v Sequence 2016

Reluctant Landlord

15:45 PM, 15th February 2024, About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by LordOf TheManor at 15/02/2024 - 13:45
I do the same. ANYONE who answers an ad for one of my properties whether coming via Open Rent or anywhere else has to fill in the NRLA application form first. Its been updated in the last 6 months or so I think and going though this is asks what I regard as all necessary questions. It makes it very clear at the end that when they sign they are expected to tell the truth.

When they return the application I also expect even at this stage to see bank statement, income details, right to rent established and confirmed and all ID as necessary. I even contact employers and the existing LL at this point before it goes anywhere else.
Anything missing /not filled in or not attached - the application form gets binned. If they cant be bothered to fill it all in properly and provide the detail required then I am not wasting my time chasing them up for it.

No viewings are even undertaken until all this is initially checked out. You have no idea these days if someone is just scouting out an empty property or not. I take someone with me at all viewings arranged too.

If the viewing goes well then full referencing goes ahead.

GlanACC

18:07 PM, 15th February 2024, About 4 months ago

Having worked for a large credit referencing agency (used by a lot of letting agencies and the like), I have worked on software that handles CCJs. The CCJs can come from a number of sources and if the tenant had a CCJ that was registered at a previous address, then if that address wasn't know at the time of referencing it wouldn't be picked up. The CCJ would only be known at the 'new address' when a link could be established. This is usually by registering on the electoral roll (many people with CCJs don't do this as this makes them immediately traceble for bailiffs), or they take out a financial contract for which they have to give the previous address.I have seen many instances of 'professional' tenants who basically 'live off grid' as far as traceability is concerned. A person is matched generally by date of birth and name. An interesting point (not meant to be racist at all) is that the name Mohammed is VERY common and it is not unusual to have several members of a family at the same address with this name, so when the bailiffs turn up and ask for Mohammed they have great difficulty in establishing who it is they are looking for.

John

18:41 PM, 15th February 2024, About 4 months ago

I had a similar but worse case. The Ref Agency gave a glowing report but it turned out she was unemployed and was evicted by her previous landlord. She stopped paying rent and we got her evicted and the court awarded us £21,000 .She still isnt working and has no assets, so it is pointless dong enforcement. We are doing Money Claim On-line against the Agent..

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